If you are of a certain age, you remember a time when cars to new sheetmetal styling on an annual basis. Case in point: Chevrolets in the mid-1950s and beyond, and among them, the Pick of the Day, a 1959 Chevrolet Bel Air 2-door sedan being advertised on ClassicCars.com.
Starting with the 1955 model year, Chevrolet gave its standard sedan a new look, call it mid-century modern with a dramatic update for 1957 with true tail fins on the rear quarter panels.
The fins twisted and curved horizontally for 1958 with small round tail lamps in various multiples inside the back part of the curve. For 1959 the fins became eyebrows about what became cat’s-eye tail lamps. Those cat’s-eyes were a one-year wonder, however, as the eyebrows became more angular for 1960, and then curved back down again for 1961.
And so far, we’ve only talked about the changes at the rear of the car. Ah, the good ol’ days, when we could tell year and make and sometimes even model just by seeing the cars from the rear at night.
But back to the Pick of the Day, that 1959 Bel Air 2-door sedan being advertised by a dealer in Torrance, California. The advertisement says that the car has been restored with its original 283cid Turbo-Fire V8 engine and matching 2-speed Powerglide automatic transmission, and repainted in its factory color of Classic Cream with Neptune Green vinyl interior, AM radio and stainless-steel trim.
The car originally was from California but had been recently in storage in Wyoming, the dealer notes.
“Recently, the Bel Air was professionally painted, wet-sanded and buffed,” the dealer reports. “The engine was pulled, resealed and painted.
“The Bel Air features new tires, new bumpers and new padded dash. Much of the interior is original and the Bel Air reportedly has 60,689 actual miles.”
For 1959, the full-size Chevrolet was available in Biscayne, Bel Air and the new Impala versions, with a 235cid inline-6 or 283cid and 348cid V8s. The Turbo-Fire 283 was rated at 230 horsepower. Kingswood and Parkwood station wagons got Bel Air trim while the Nomad wagon was part of the Impala model range.
The ’59 Chevys were longer and lower (by 3 inches!) than they had been for 1958 and were among the most distinctive single-year models the company would produce.
“This particular example was recently acquired from a renowned collection which had itself reportedly completed the restoration on an obviously always cherished ‘Garage Queen,’ with reportedly only 60,689 original miles,” the dealer notes.
“The 283 V8 engine is extremely strong and powerful and sounds absolutely magnificent, and this particular car drives absolutely magnificently — must be driven to be believed — does not miss a beat and purrs like a kitten — drives straight as an arrow with no strange road wobbles, shakes or rattles — a truly remarkable daily driver that will give any modern-day car a run for its money!
“The transmission shifts smoothly through the gears and the car is an absolute pleasure to drive!
“The car boasts its original spare wheel and jack in the truck and from looking at the photographs you will see that you could literally eat your lunch off either the original engine or trunk compartments — the car is in quite stunning recently restored condition, as good if not better than the day it left the showroom floor in 1959!”
The restored ’59 Bel Air is offered for $49,500. To view this vehicle on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.